October 22, 2012

My Kind of Pretty

The words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop them, before I could really think about them.

There! Now I'm pretty! Just like you!

I said them to my daughter as I was applying a final coat of mascara and lipgloss. We were about to leave to pick up her Daddy from the airport after his week long trip to Amsterdam. I had spent a little extra time on my hair and make-up because, duh, my husband had been gone for a week.

Many times Evie ends up in the master bathroom with me, watching as I get ready so this wasn't an uncommon occurrence.

This particular time Evie looked up at me and mimicked me "Pretty!" and grabbed my bronzer brush and started rubbing it on her face.

And it hit me. What kind of lessons am I teaching my daughter? Did I just actually say that makeup is what makes me pretty like her?

There's a certain reality about being a girl mom, because lets be honest, at least for me, I'm not going to give up doing my makeup and messing with my hair. I'm pretty low maintenance in the beauty department but just like most girls out there I enjoy a good pampering. I like to dawdle over a leave in conditioner in my hair, spend an extra five minutes on my make-up, get a spa pedicure or buy a new pair of dangly earrings for a special night out. But how do I teach my daughter that while doing these things can be fun and yes, inherently feminine that they don't equal beauty. That her beauty, her real beauty, comes from her heart, her sparkly blue eyes, her observant nature and her smarts? How do I show her that while they can be fun, made-up or made over and pretty aren't the same thing? That true pretty runs deeper than foundation, mascara and lipstick.

It's the flip side of the whole "girl moms have it so much easier in the clothes department/ there's nothing cute out there for little boys" argument. We start telling our girls that there is something important about how they look the second that they are born. It's true. I know I'm guilty of it. I dressed Evie in little matching outfits all the time when she was a newborn.

So how do we girl moms comabt this? It's hard because for the most part we buy into it ourselves too. We wear make up, fix our hair, bemoan our now brassy dye job with three inch roots and would line up around the block to buy the cream that erases wrinkles, stretch marks and would return our breasts to their former pre-pregnancy perkiness. And I'm not saying I'm going to stop any of that, because I know I won't. I don't have the answer, and I can't pretend to. I do know though that the words, "There! Now I'm pretty, just like you!" will not leave my mouth again, especially after I get done applying makeup to cover up my face.

I'm going to start reminding myself that I am pretty, even with blotchy skin, pale eyelashes and circles under my eyes, that my pretty doesn't come in a bottle. And neither does your pretty, y'all. And if you have daughters neither does theirs.

We can't fight all in this world that tells our baby girls that their beauty comes from without, but we can tell them and show them by our example that real life pretty comes from within.

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